- Jos Aldo picked up his first win at bantamweight by defeating Marlon Vera last Saturday.
- After the bout, Aldo called out former champion T.J. Dillashaw.
- Dillashaw’s 2-year suspension will end on January 19, 2021.
Following his victory over Marlon Vera At UFC Vegas 17, Jose Aldo called out fellow former champion T.J. Dillashaw during his post-fight interview.
The Brazilian, a former UFC featherweight champion, snapped a three-bout losing skid and earned his first win at the 135-pound weight class on Saturday night. When asked who would he like to fight next, he mentioned the former UFC bantamweight champion as his choice.
Back in the Winners’ Circle
Jose Aldo is on the first three fight skid of his career. Will the former featherweight champ bounce back against Chito Vera and get his first win at bantamweight this Saturday? #UFCVegas17 pic.twitter.com/A8934rQ5lQ
— MMA On Point (@OnPointMMA) December 14, 2020
Aldo entered Saturday night’s event carrying a three-fight losing streak, the first such skid of his decorated career. But with his back against the proverbial wall, Aldo mustered the champion in him to beat Vera and get back in the winners’ circle.
The Brazilian was the fourth and final WEC featherweight champion who was promoted to UFC champion when the promotions merged. Junior would make seven successful title defenses before his infamous 13-second knockout loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 194. He would recapture the title in his next fight but lost it again to Max Holloway in his first title defense.
Aldo would move down to bantamweight three fights ago but lost to Marlon Moraes in his 135-pound debut. Despite that, he earned a shot at the bantamweight belt when he was booked to face Petr Yan at UFC 251 for the vacant title. Aldo gave a good account of himself but was knocked out in Round 5.
Back From Suspension
Dillashaw wants immediate title shot after return from suspension https://t.co/OvInldSWN1 pic.twitter.com/wYMfydxl15
— theScore MMA (@theScoreMMA) December 3, 2020
Dillashaw has been on the shelf since his loss to Henry Cejudo in January 2019. In March of that year, he vacated the UFC bantamweight title after failing a pair of drug tests. One month later, the USADA suspended him for two years after testing positive for the recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) during the lead up to his fight with Cejudo. The suspension was retroactive to January 19, 2019, the day of the fight.
The 34-year old Dillashaw shocked the world when he dethroned Renan Barao in dominant fashion at UFC 173. Barao had not lost in 32 consecutive bouts prior to fighting Dillashaw but the latter stopped the Brazilian on his way to winning the belt. After two successful title defenses, including one against Barao in a rematch, Dillashaw lost the belt to Dominick Cruz via a disputed decision at UFC Fight Night 181.
The former TUF 14 runner-up reclaimed the title when he knocked out Cody Garbrandt at UFC 217 and then stopped No Love against at UFC 227. He then went on an ambitious bid to win the UFC flyweight title against Cejudo but that plan ended in defeat and a two-year suspension. However, the suspension ends on January 19, 2021 and Dillashaw has stated that he wants a title shot upon his return.
Bantamweight Title Picture
BREAKING: Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling to be rescheduled for February pic.twitter.com/aOQLUP3INC
— MMA Island (@MMAisland) November 22, 2020
Dillashaw won’t have his wish granted because the UFC is rebooking the Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling title fight in February of next year. Yan was supposed to make his first title defense against sterling last weekend at UFC 256 but the champion withdrew from the bout due to an undisclosed reason.
With a title shot against Yan currently unavailable and uncertain, Dillashaw might as well take a tune-up fight to boost his stock once again. And if he obliges, he has at least two options. Aside from Aldo, no. 11 bantamweight Rob Font called out Dillashaw after the former defeated no. 3 Marlon Moraes last Saturday.
2021 will surely be an interesting year for the UFC bantamweight division. T.J. Dillashaw claims that the division has no real champion with the belt changing hands every fight in the last two title fights via vacancy. Dillashaw has a valid claim for the title but he will now have to go through the likes of Yan, Aljamain Sterling, and Cody Sandhagen among others. Beating Aldo or Font will get him closer to the top once again.